A proposal for a new representative fixture for Rugby League in Australia.
What is it?
A representative fixture played between two conferences (North and South) involving the best players in the NRL who represent the conference which corresponds to their current club team – similar to the conference system used by the NBA for their All Star fixture.
Conference division = Sydney Harbour.
North: Cowboys, Broncos, Titans, Knights, Sea Eagles, Tigers, Eels, Panthers
South: Storm, Dragons, Sharks, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Raiders, Bulldogs, (Warriors, geographically south of Sydney ?)
This could be changed according to exact geographical locations (eg. Western Sydney teams).
Any player currently playing in the NRL. Players from any country or state.
This would include players from any Australian state as well as from New Zealand, The UK, Fiji and other countries which are represented in the NRL.
This would allow the selection of players who are not eligible for State of Origin.
Players would represent the conference of their current NRL team, and could play for different conferences in different seasons if they change clubs.
To avoid complications, perhaps the fixture would not be open to players who switch clubs during a season.
To showcase the highest possible standard of NRL in the world.
This used to be State of Origin, because Australia used to dominate League, but now that New Zealand often beat Australia in Tests, Origin cannot claim to be the best in the world – even though it’s still a fantastic competition.
Currently, Australia v New Zealand Tests are the highest standard of game in the world but if other countries (eg England) continue to improve then this fixture could not claim that title.
To bring together the world’s best players in one match.
As the game expands, top players will emerge from regions other than NSW and Queensland. Especially with the success of the Melbourne Storm, players born and bred in Victoria may reach the top level but be ineligible for Origin. This fixture would give them a chance to play at the top level.
To increase exposure.
The game could be played in emerging areas, such as Victoria, rural Australia, New Zealand or even PNG or Pacific Islands, depending on logistics.
It would undoubtedly attract strong TV audiences in those regions, and The UK , if players from around the world featured in the match.
Less potential for arguments over eligibility.
Too many fixtures.
This would compete for scheduling with State of Origin, Tests, City v Country, Indigenous All Stars, Auckland Nines, World Club Champs…and other representative fixtures.
It would have to be done in such a way that it does not clash with or dilute State of Origin.
The game could be played every second or third season.
Too much stress on players and increased chance of injury or burnout. A possible solution to this issue is that one player from each club must be selected. That creates a core group of eight players, and the rest of the squad can be chosen from any club.
Concern from clubs who may already be losing players to other representative fixtures. The game would only work if it truly showcased the very best players in the NRL.
There would obviously be a lot of logistical and practical problems to be solved to make this idea a reality, but it could potentially become a successful series.